Cloud computing is good news for the future of the British Economy

According to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, cloud computing could boost the EU economy by £645 billion over the next 5 years, and create 2.4 million jobs.  After Germany, the UK economy is set to gain the most from the coming cloud boom.

The report, commissioned by data storage and IT solutions company, EMC also said that 2011 would be the ‘year of the cloud’ when technology like Liquid’s cloud accounting software would become mainstream.

Commenting on the story, Matt Holmes, MD of Liquid Accounts, Chair of the BASDA Cloud Computing SIG and member of the Cloud Industry Forum governing body said: ‘At Liquid Accounts we’ve been providing cloud accounting services for over 5 years now and so we knew it would only be a matter of time before cloud really took off. To be honest, Europe is lagging behind other parts of the world such as Australasia and Scandinavia where they have small populations spread over large areas and therefore working and communicating over the internet is already the norm. The fact that cloud can have such a beneficial effect on our struggling economy may create the tipping point for online technologies here in the UK and the rest of Europe.  And the fact that the Government has just announced its commitment to providing superfast broadband for everyone by 2015 means that they are also pushing for cloud to become mainstream too.‘

News about the report featured this week on the BBC Business News website and included comments from technology industry giants such as Microsoft and Citrix.

EMC’s Chief Technology Officer, Chuck Hollis said, ‘The cloud turns information technology into a utility, consumed like electricity or outsourced payroll services.’

The article went on to say that ‘Cloud computing allows companies to invest in growth while spreading the cost.  Instead of big up-front costs, IT investment becomes a continuing operating expenditure that rises and falls with demand.’

It also included the usual warnings that things might go wrong, that data might be lost and that people might be put of by the hype and poor user experiences.

In response to these criticisms, Matt Holmes said, ‘Unfortunately, many of these negative attitudes towards cloud are perpetuated by existing software and technology companies who are scared that cloud computing is going to come along and completely undermine their business models.  Citrix, for example owns GoToMyPC – software which allows people to access files on their computer remotely.  It’s a great idea, however, cloud software makes the whole concept completely redundant because everything is stored and accessed remotely whenever and wherever you like.

The sad thing is that the arguments being put forward against cloud are exactly the same arguments that were used when 200 years ago railways came along and threatened the livelihoods of the people who made money from canals.  Today, as then, they play on the fears of people who don’t really understand how this new technology works.  They didn’t however, stop the railways from superseding canals – in the end the benefits far outweighed the perceived risks.

Similarly, today, would you rather that your essential business data was encrypted and multiple copies held in secure, managed data centre on the latest, fully maintained servers? Or would you rather risk losing everything if your business suffers a theft, fire or flood, or your computers simply give up the ghost because they are too old or not properly maintained?  And in the light of the recent severe weather conditions; would you rather spend several hours stuck on your commute to work due to the snow or would you prefer to be able to login from home and access everything you need to keep your business running?

However, we in the industry do take the criticisms seriously and that’s why we’ve this week announced a BASDA Cloud Charter for vendors of cloud software and a Cloud Industry Forum Code of Practice.  Both organisations are aiming to create industry-wide standards that will reassure people that cloud computing is safe and secure.’

Cloud Computing is moving faster than any other ‘next big thing’

And in a separate report this week, undertaken by industry analysts, TechMarketView, the UK cloud market was forecasted to reach £6.1bn by 2014.

They have created a new way of assessing the UK cloud market opportunities, called Asset-Led Market Model (ALMM), which shows that cloud computing it is moving faster than almost any other ‘next big thing’

Their comprehensive research includes, for the first time, a full assessment of the UK cloud computing market in the UK software and IT services (SITS) market report.  It predicts that the market will grow from around 6% of the UK SITS in 2010 to almost 15% by 2014.

TechMarketView anticipates cloud adoption happening in three waves, with the third wave peaking in the middle of the decade.

The report says: “We expect that the public cloud market will grow much more rapidly than private cloud in the early years, as enterprises (especially SMEs) move ‘easy win’ applications off premise.

Read the full story from TechMarketView here.

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